1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”
3-4 When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
5-6 They told him, “Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly:
It’s you, Bethlehem, in Judah’s land, no longer bringing up the rear. From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel.”
7-8 Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.”
9-10 Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
11 They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
12 In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.
Jesus, just like the wise men who came and found you I am a scholar. Just like them, I am not a Jew. I live in a far-off country but I ackowledge you as king of everything. It seems laughable looking back that Herod the Great saw you as a potential rival. I don’t think that you would have been interested in his little kingdom. Yet, these rich men traveled great distances and gave you everything that they had.
Because I have been working so hard getting the house ready to sell, and I am tired I don’t feel grateful for what I have. Then I don’t think I have anything of worth to offer you. Slowing down right now helps me reflect. I have precious children and they are a gift from you. I offer them back to you as my gift. I like the house that we live in, but we feel called to another town. I am giving this house over to you.
Help me to value what I have so that, like the magi, I have something that I value to give back to you.
- What did the Magi observe?
- How do you think it led them from one place to another?
- How is Herod shown as a false king?
- What do you have to bring to Jesus?
- What does it mean for Jesus to be king of more than Israel?